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How Many Songs Can a Kindle Hold?

written by: Elton Gahr•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 3/21/2011

While not generally thought of as an MP3 player, the Kindle can run MP3s, but with the information on storage space not advertised by Amazon how many songs a Kindle can hold is a question that needs an answer.

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    Playing Songs on the Kindle

    Because the Amazon Kindle is so simple to use it is sometime easy to forget that at its core it is still a computer with many of the same capabilities as other devices. One of the more useful of these capabilities is the ability to play songs. This is very useful because good music and books are an excellent combination, but because it is not designed as an mp3 player Amazon doesn’t make it easy to know how many songs can Kindle hold. It actually lists its storage on not in typical computer terms, but in the number of books it can hold.

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    Memory Size of Amazon Kindle

    The first thing that you have to learn in order to know how many songs Kindle can hold is knowing the actual storage capacity. Luckindle-storage kily this information is not that hard to find. Simply plug Kindle into the USB of your computer to charge it and then open the my computer screen. For the first generation Kindle the memory usable by the user was about 180 Megabytes, this jumped up for the remaining kindles with 1.4 gigabytes for the Kindle 2 and about 3 gigabytes for the Kindle 3 and the Kindle DX. This alone can give a reasonable idea of how many songs Kindle can hold.

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    The Size of the Average Song

    Next in the calculation is the size of the average MP3. Assuming the traditional bitrate of 128k it turns out to be very nearly 1 megabyte of memory for each minute of audio. This means that on the very first Kindle could hold about 180 minutes of songs. Assuming an average length of 3 minutes per song the math becomes easy. The first kindle could hold about 60 songs if you put nothing else on it. The later Kindles are much better. A gigabyte is 1024 megabytes which makes 1.4 gigabytes 1433 megabytes, so assuming you want a bit of room for music about 1400 minutes of music at 128k and the number of minutes of music the Kindle 3 can hold is about 3072. This means that the number of songs Kindle can hold, if you bought it today would be about 1000.

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    Audio books on Kindle

    For those people who prefer audio books which can be played in the same way the numbers become even better. As they are generally speech only the bitrate of an audio book use only about 32 kilobytes per second rather than 128. This means that an hour of audio book would only take about 14 megabytes of space. For the Kindle 2 approximately 100 hours of audio books and for the Kindle 3 over 200 hours.

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    While it might be nice to have Amazon answer the question of how many songs Kindle can hold officially once you know the storage capacity of Kindle the math becomes reasonably easy and the possibility of not having to carry both the Kindle and an MP3 player becomes a real possibility because a modern kindle can hold about 1000 songs and that is enough for most people.

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    Wolfram Alpha,